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Could tech innovation drive an arcade revival?

Could tech innovation drive an arcade revival?

Fri 03 May 2013 6:50am GMT / 2:50am EDT / 11:50pm PDT
Hardware

Out-of-home gaming has been in decline for decades - but new technologies may be more suited to arcades than to living rooms.

It's ancient history now, but once upon a time, if you wanted to play the most recent and most interesting games, you had to get up, leave the house and make your way to an arcade. Games consoles and home computers lived further down the food chain, their owners waiting for often sub-par versions of glorious arcade hits to be released on home systems. The real experience happened in an arcade.

Even to those who experienced that era, it's a little hard to believe when you look at the sad remnants of their former glory which remain. Even in supposedly arcade-mad Japan, games generally find themselves wedged ignominiously in between gambling machines occupied by middle-aged chain-smokers and UFO Catcher booths promising, but rarely delivering, stuffed toys and sweets for bored teens on dates. In western countries, sad, lonely fighting game machines are just stuffed in where "arcade" owners ran out of fruit machines to install.

"the accelerating pace of technological progress turned the size and expense of arcade machines into a liability rather than an advantage"

The reasons for this change are fundamentally technological. Arcade machines are big, bulky and expensive to move or replace. Once, that meant that they were vastly more powerful than home systems - but the accelerating pace of technological progress turned the size and expense of arcade machines into a liability rather than an advantage. Cheap, rapidly updated computers and consoles (and eventually even phones) first matched and then far outstripped the processing capabilities of big arcade cabinets. Rapid updates in graphics, processing, storage, networking, controls and screen resolutions were comfortably adopted by the home market, the costs buffered by cheap, cheerful hardware and absorbed by the wallets of millions of consumers. Arcade operators, faced with replacing large numbers of huge, expensive systems in order to keep track of such changes, fell behind completely.

Social factors either exacerbated or softened this blow, but these were highly region dependent. In Japan, where small family living spaces have engendered a culture in which many social activities are carried out external to the home, arcades persisted as date spots, as places to hang out with friends and - perhaps most importantly - as a venue for games too large, too noisy or too intrusive to be played in a small family home. In parts of the West, though, social factors intervened to hasten the decline, with a perception of arcades as "seedy" venues (in the grand tradition of pool halls and their ilk) discouraging many potential players, while regions with legalised gambling were quick to drop videogames in favour of more profitable slot machines.

"there has been talk of an 'arcade renaissance' on several occasions, yet each time has ended in disappointment"

Over the years, there has been talk of an "arcade renaissance" on several occasions, yet each time has ended in disappointment. Even as living spaces in many Western countries (the UK is a particularly notable example) have shrunk dramatically in terms of average size, Western consumers have demonstrated a continued willingness to engage with loud, bulky games. Rock Band and Guitar Hero were hugely successful as home games in the West, where their Japanese equivalents, Konami's Guitar Freaks or Drum Mania, have acted as sustaining lifeblood for arcade venues. It's also notable that even as Japanese arcades have innovated and invested, launching extraordinary new games which leverage all sorts of new technologies, from the company's ultra high-speed broadband networks through to the possibilities of RFID enabled cards, the arcade sector's health has still declined - a drop-off in footfall, revenue and floor space that's been slower than in the West, but still isn't exactly the rude health you might have come to believe from fawning articles about amazing Japanese arcades in the western media.

As such, it's important to be cautious about any notion of an arcade recovery. Yet if we were to envisage any potential uplift in the fortunes of the out-of-home gaming sector, we can easily say what one key factor would be - just as in the heyday of the arcade, these venues would need to provide games which you simply cannot experience at home. This won't come about, this time around, through more powerful graphics or processing - the trends in those areas are focused on miniaturisation and cost-efficiency, targeting the ability to put high-end 3D into phones rather than building pricey, bulky, ultra high-end systems. Instead, the focus would have to be on experiences that don't work at home for reasons of space, budget, intrusiveness - or preferably, a combination of all of the above.

"Kinect alone is an impossibility for many players due to the space and room layout it demands"

The reason I raise this issue now is because in the past few weeks, most of us will have seen videos or demonstrations of technologies which, although their creators purport to be focused on the home market, clearly fall into these categories. One is Microsoft's Illumiroom system, which uses Kinect to map a 3D space and then projects imagery matched to that 3D map. It's a great piece of technology with extraordinary gaming potential. It's also abjectly unsuited to an ever-increasing number of living rooms around the world. Kinect alone is an impossibility for many players due to the space and room layout it demands; Illumiroom, demanding similar space if not more and intrusively taking over the entire room such that nobody else will be able to use it concurrently with the game being played, is simply not going to work for most people and most homes. Outside the home, though, in a dedicated venue? The potential of the technology is extraordinary, the experiences it could create serving to create a destination for gamers to experience something that just won't work at home.

The same thought process applies, to some extent, to the Oculus Rift. It's not that the superb VR headset hardware won't work at home - of course it will, and it'll probably only be a few hardware generations before the compromises presently being made in the name of cost are ironed out by technological progress. However, the "full" VR experience - with a custom controller (a gun, perhaps, or full-body motion sensing suite), a multi- directional treadmill, and so on, is simply going to be too expensive for most users - and even if prices collapsed, it's too big and unwieldy to live in most people's apartments. Yet the entertainment potential of such a fully-functional setup, running in parallel with a dozen other such suites so that a group of friends can explore a virtual world together, is enormous - and from a commercial perspective, not even all that space-consuming.

"Social factors are trickier, in many ways, than getting the hardware and the software right"

Of course, technology is just one factor. Technologies such as these (and I'm sure that others exist which also fall into the trap of "amazing, but it won't work in my house") can give a compelling reason for people to engage with out-of-home gaming - but the social factors also have to be right if an arcade renaissance is to be possible. Social factors are trickier, in many ways, than getting the hardware and the software right. Losing the seedy, unwelcoming image of the arcade in some regions will be tough; in others, where arcades have died entirely, the marketing of an entirely new social pursuit would present a major challenge. Getting people to try out something like this might be easy; getting them to see a trip to the VR centre with friends as an entertainment option on par with a trip to the cinema is likely to be much harder.

All the same, the entertainment possibilities opened up by technologies of this kind, which are now reaching a mature, usable stage in their development, ought to create an optimism around arcades and out-of-home gaming that hasn't been seen for some time. Social or commercial aspects could still pull the rug out from any hope of recovery or renaissance - but the potential certainly exists for new kinds of gaming and interactive entertainment to take their place as key social out-of-home experiences in the coming years.

30 Comments

Kingman Cheng
Illustrator and Animator

943 157 0.2
Honestly, I would very much love and welcome an arcade revival. : )

But absolutely right, even though the technology can facilitate this, the social factors are necessary to push it forward. When the time is right perhaps.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Sam Brown
Programmer

235 164 0.7
Completely agree. Unless it's a slots game, every arcade machine available has some sort of hardware gimmick attached to it. The coin-op industry has known this for a while, but they've been limited to light guns, steering wheels and dance pads.

Casual arcade gaming, IE that found in pubs, is deader than a dead thing. Smartphones and regulation changes pretty much killed the SWP market. But dedicated arcades, or more likely ones attached to larger entertainment complexes might still have a chance.

However, I think they'd really need to make them more family-friendly, and that means abandoning or marginalising the gambling. So it would depend on how much money gambling is still worth to them, whether gamblers are actually still using dedicated arcades, or whether they do it in the bookies or on the internet. If the arcades are losing customers, maybe retooling for non-payout gaming would be a risk worth taking.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 3rd May 2013 9:20am

Posted:A year ago

#2

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,136 914 0.8
Outdated technology is the single biggest reason why I'm not a fan of arcade machines, then there's cost...

Posted:A year ago

#3

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 239 0.4
But dedicated arcades, or more likely ones attached to larger entertainment complexes might still have a chance.
If they stop using racing games exclusively, then maybe they have a chance.

Posted:A year ago

#4

David Serrano
Freelancer

298 270 0.9
I'd love to see it happen but if it did, it would probably be limited to a handful of big cities.

Posted:A year ago

#5
@Rob - thank you for taking the time to pen this feature on what is a subject close to my heart, but also to the trade association that I founded and chair - as well as for our membership.

Can I start my comments by offering some corrections to your reportage:
Even in supposedly arcade-mad Japan, games generally find themselves wedged ignominiously in between gambling machines occupied by middle-aged chain-smokers and UFO Catcher booths promising, but rarely delivering, stuffed toys and sweets for bored teens on dates.
Wow this would illustrate the most misguided assumption of the writing - the Japanese amusement scene is a vibrant sector, with some of the most futuristic amusement venues in the World - rather than wedged - the video amusement component is a ground breaking and technology leading experience - looking at JOYPOLIS, Capcom Plaza, RoundOne and other major Amusement Theme Park (ATP) venues this can not be called as boring - some research would have landed you at the re-launch of the SEGA JOYPOLIS venue - http://arcadeheroes.com/2012/07/19/segas-tokyo-joypolis-reopens-with-new-design-attractions-new-facility-smell

Note - can i point out that SEGA, NAMCO, KONAMI and TAITO's amusement business in the home islands beat the revenue from their consumer game business... not so seedy!

In western countries, sad, lonely fighting game machines are just stuffed in where "arcade" owners ran out of fruit machines to install.
Its' easy to get fixated that the amusement business is only one poorly supported aspects and forget the diversity of the business. The fighting game scene is not a factor of the modern amusement trade in the West (though their are specialist venues that are very popular and making a come back) it is the video redemption, amusement theme park attractions, and the new generation of deluxe and mid-scale amusement systems that drive interest. And rather than stereotypes you need to look at the reality; though the arcade (mall based) is a dying breed, the majority of the amusement business is in cinemas, theme parks, family entertainment centers and bowling/sport facilities.These facilities are not just represented by Chuck E. Cheese, but include Dave & Busters, Incredible Pizza, Amusement Theater and BrunswicZones to name a small fraction - and I think D&B will argue that their facilities are not "stuffed" with anything.
Over the years, there has been talk of an "arcade renaissance" on several occasions, yet each time has ended in disappointment. Even as living spaces in many Western countries (the UK is a particularly notable example) have shrunk dramatically in terms of average size
Though I will question when these "claims" of a renaissance over the "years" has been reported - defiantly not in GameIndustry.biz? Can I also correct the perception that the "arcade" has ever been stated as coming back - the amusement facility - for that is the business if you managed to speak to us in the trade - call the business. And from the UK you can see major developments in the amusement experience. Rather than going off on one - let me do some of the research you should have done and point you to the major successful amusement development - http://www.grandpier.co.uk/rides-attractions
The reason I raise this issue now is because in the past few weeks, most of us will have seen videos or demonstrations of technologies which, although their creators purport to be focused on the home market, clearly fall into these categories
I hope the real reason for this feature has been the number of comments in GameIndustry.biz that has mentioned on the Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment (DOE) sector? We are a very popular topic at the moment, Trending incredibly high - and makes me wonder why we in the amusement and DOE sector were not contacted for some quotes for this piece - did Rob want it all too himself to steer it in a particular direction?
Losing the seedy, unwelcoming image of the arcade in some regions will be tough
Not as tough as trying to educate poorly informed media representation - this is a factor behind the creation of the Digital Out-of-Home entertainment Network Association (DNA). I think that a fixation of calling public-space pay-to-play amusement business just as "arcade" shows a limitation in understanding what the DOE has to offer.
Social or commercial aspects could still pull the rug out from any hope of recovery or renaissance - but the potential certainly exists for new kinds of gaming and interactive entertainment to take their place as key social out-of-home experiences in the coming years.
I know that there is a lot of concern that the possible down-scale of consumer game investment, and the slump in sales has worried a number in the consumer game scene. Many tried to ignore this with the now-famous five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.- I see this feature as Rob's 'acceptance' that thing are changing - and rather than ignoring and even berating the amusement trade with "Arcade is Dead" comments - there is a realization that the Generation 8 consoles on the horizon may not cut it (they will defiantly not run the RIFT), and that looking towards DOE business may now be a "safe bet". If you do think of crossing the street, please lets have some research - give me a call?

Can I conclude by making the observation that there seems to be a comprehension with the way this feature was written - the use of "Quotes" is usually deployed when a expert of specialist with words of wisdom is making a point - but in this feature no interviews were sort or requests for contradicting voices to that of an author, who seems to have zero knowledge of the past or current amusement trade?

If you want to know more about this opportunity please contact me directly at : http://www.dna-association.com/

Edited 2 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 3rd May 2013 6:30pm

Posted:A year ago

#6
Just to address some comments above
The Digital Out-of-Home entertainment (DOE) sector dose not just represent the traditional "arcade" style approach, but now includes all public-space entertainment approaches, ranging from the 4D interactive attraction, the deluxe video amusement piece, the bartop tavern system, the Gamebar facility, the edutainment simulator and the exer-gaming platform - and much much more. All these systems have interactive game content, all these systems are immersive and compelling - all these systems hungry for content, content that could be delivered by the same developers of current console content - you do the maths!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 3rd May 2013 9:40pm

Posted:A year ago

#7

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

868 1,273 1.5
I really enjoyed going to arcades back in the day to play fighting games against real people. But that ship has sailed. I seriously doubt there will ever be a true arcade revival here in the US.

Posted:A year ago

#8
I would love to see arcades back but I have my doubts. Being a teenager back when the arcade games took off,(Late 70s) we have to remember there were no cell phones, hell ,no answering machines, facebook wha? internet huh? NO back then we did all our socialization in person, imagine that. Arcades were not only for gaming but for socializing. These days obviously there is no need for that. So I dont ever seeing arcades becoming the phenomenon they once were.
I do see one small glimmer of hope. I think the oculus Rift technology will offer some really incredible gaming experiences coming pretty soon. And while the headset setup may be relatively inexpensive, creating a body, vehicle type controller setup may be unique enough and complicate enough to give some niche opportunities for arcades.

Imagine jumping in a racecar sitdown cockpit, putting on the headset and suddenly, there you are actually there in the race 360 degrees. It will indeed create some " oh my god, this is so cool" moments.

I have seen enough to predict Oculus Rift is going to change gaming forever., and as before arcades may be the place that introduces many people to this new tech.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 4th May 2013 3:02am

Posted:A year ago

#9
We use the phrase "Unachievable@Home" to describe the best systems that can be placed in the Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment (DOE) sector - if you can do it on a home system then it should not be in the public-space.

The Oculus RIFT is far from being a home system currently, it is easily three years away from any home application - while many have purchased the SDK system, the majority of consumers will have to wait for the production with the added audio and hi-rez equipment, tracking and software package. And those interested in purchasing will have to up-spec their PC. It is more likely that a amusement application could be fielded in the short term to enthuse the audience as movies enthuse those to buy the DVD.

Regarding the ultimate racing simulator - I am not sure if VR is really needed, as we already have in the DOE sector some pretty realistic, amazing and immersive racing simulators for network experiences - http://www.cruden.com/entertainment/customer-projects2/i-way/

Posted:A year ago

#10
That cruden stuff may be nice but it will never be mass market.Too expensive, too much overhead etc... We are not gonna see that at a boardwalk arcade. Oculus Rift technology will be cheap enough to allow for a wide spread availability .
It is more likely that a amusement application could be fielded in the short term to enthuse the audience as movies enthuse those to buy the DVD.
exactly, thats my point.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 4th May 2013 3:49am

Posted:A year ago

#11
@Todd, thanks for the comments.
Regarding the "Boardwalk Arcade" - this is no longer a viable entity, left to a handful of operators. This is not a core business of amusement sector, the same way that importing Japanese RPG's is not a core business of the consumer game sector.

I selected one high-end approach to the immersive simulator sector as an example to those new to it, but this is a diverse sector and if you want a more cost-effective platform, I can point you to many, like : http://playmotion.com.tr/en/products.html

I am fascinated that so many commentators have worked out that they will not see RIFT in the consumer sector any-time-soon, and now think that the alternative for "amusement" application (I would prefer to call this approach Location-Based Entertainment), and the current RIFT, is "cheap enough" for that sector market!

From my research (which has been client lead), the RIFT to be able to be fielded in the public-play sector will need to have the following:
- new ergonomic and rugged design
- inclusion of audio
- inclusion of Hi-Def tracking
- inclusion of ocula controls
- rugged player interface
- New Hi-Res screen
- standardized PC system
- game/operation handling firmware
- player enclosure
... and finally a great arcade style game!

That shopping list is not cheap - and as the Oculus guys have yet to admit this as a viable business path, we may find that they will be loathed to go down it till they have stemmed their consumer SDK interest!

Posted:A year ago

#12
@kevin
this is no longer a viable entity, left to a handful of operators. This is not a core business of amusement sector, .
But this article is about just that, what is needed if ever such old style arcades could make a come back. As I mentioned due to the changing social dynamic of society I doubt they can, but if ever there was one last chance, Rift is giving it to them.

As far as your RIFT comments, its not that expensive now. Any decent computer can run it well. The only thing holding it back is the resolution , which they assure us will be upgraded and even now after a few minutes your eyes adjust to the lower rez. All that is needed is a decent gaming rig capable of putting out 60fps on average to newer games. I've used it, its pretty freaking amazing even in this stage and pretty reasonably priced.

I agree as I have been saying, there may be a window of 2 to 5 years where amusement/arcades could use the tech and bring it to the masses. After 5 years it will invade the household, as it is too awesome to be ignored.

What I see in 10 years time, is this tech reshaping the expensive amusement set ups. Imagine what disney could and will do with this. No more lame theater "experiences" , how about going into the virtual world of your favorite characters, walking around in it. Yeah, Rift tricks the mind after a few minutes., it's weird but oh so freakin cool.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 4th May 2013 5:55pm

Posted:A year ago

#13
I think we read the article differently - for me the core of the article is "hey look VR could reignite interest in arcades!" I did not take away the comment that the Renascence would be the traditional dark and dingy arcade of the 80's, but of a new social playing environment. The traditional mall arcade is a throwback, the modern digital out-of-home entertainment venue is a temple to play.
its not that expensive now. Any decent computer can run it well
What kool-aid have you been drinking! The minimal specs for the RIFT are a GeForce GTS450, with 4gb ram and a quad core processor overclocked at 3.1ghz (a Sandy or Ivy bridge CPU recommended). That JUST runs the system, the tracking and audio are another matter - the system is fielded without audio, and the on-board tracking is not good enough to be appropriate. Most developers use their own audio and Razer tracker - all tax the best PC rigs.

That is just for the current (under performing) 720p version of the RIFT - it is agreed that the resolution and the tracking need to be increased and the final system will have to run at 1080p so that is another doubling of the processor, performance and tracking - that is far from being "any decent computer"!

I know there is a movement with some consumer devs who have the RIFT to down play the performance needs for the system, to avoid disappoint and sticker-shock from the customers, but also to try and avoid the ticklish subject of console ports. I know of some developers that hocked their RIFT system up to their Playstion 4 development rigs to do a comparisons and were appalled by the failure to even run the RIFT SDK unit let alone consider a final release version.
Imagine what disney could and will do with this
We already did! I worked at Imagineering on the VR application on a Disney project that is still open - https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/downtown-disney/entertainment/disney-quest-indoor-interactive-theme-park/

I agree with your timeline - I see a 4 year window before the RIFT slams into the consumer sector - that would allow a console developer to also consider a HOME RIFT system that would be appropriate - and if there is a crash in the Gen-8 consoles - that timing would be perfect to see one company steel the lead.

All that said, in four years we could push the bar so high for the VR experience in the "amusement" scene that it may be impossible for the console/home gamer to emulate the same experience. How many home buyers will be able to even consider a brand new $1,400 purchase (new PC and the $400 RIFT - and add to this the orthogonal treadmill). Space, peripherals and connection requirements may be so great that home application may not be convenient for the 80% of players you have to consider if you want to have a successful consumer sale window. At the moment MS are scaling back the KINECT as only 15% of the audience has the space to use the system effectively - as Nintendo did with the Wii-U.

Finally, the one major issue that may make out-of-home RIFT player better than in-home is the exposure issues. Already testers and evaluators have seen 'Sim-Sickness' issues with long duration usage of the HMD. 15mins is seen as the optimal user time - that grates at the 2-hour average player time on a console game - this could see the "amusement" application (short play time) approach as the best deployment of the RIFT for the time being - a factor I know some in the consumer game sector are down playing!

Posted:A year ago

#14

Adrian Herber

69 23 0.3
Hi Kevin, I recall you were initially sceptical of the Rift - based on some pretty solid personal experience in prior stabs at VR tech too. I'm reading now that it seems to have proved itself to you as having a realistic shot at actually working out. I'm curious if there was something in particular that has changed your opinion?

Posted:A year ago

#15
Hi Adrian, I would rather use the word cautious for my observation of the RIFT - than out and out skepticism. The issues I had at the time was the low resolution, and the tracking issues. You will see that the current SDK units are now fielded with a slightly higher resolution, and Oculus has now confirmed that they will work on new tracking tech for the next reiteration.

To answer the question regarding if there was a single issue that changed my opinion - I would have to say delivery! The Oculus team delivered on what they had promised, and though this system is low spec compared to the current Military/Training grade HMD's on the market, it is a excellent development tool and will undoubtedly lead to something big.

What that something is may surprise us all. Already (as seen with this feature) the technology is more applicable in the public-space than in the home. This revelation reflects my "caution" when I first heard about a $300 consumer HMD that would plug into any PC or console. Luckily those claims have stopped and the reality of a $400 system that needs a $900 PC has dawned on the community.

I can confirm that a number of companies have started to look at the RIFT as a amusement entity, though the vulnerability of the current HMD has caused some concern. The news of the four year delay between SDK and home system is the biggest kicker - so Out-of-Home offers a great window for application between this obvious delay - and the play demographics of the Out-of-Home scene also fits well with the limitations of the current Oculus design.

Oh and before I am snowed under with irate comments about not knowing what I talk about regarding the delay in a home RIFT system. The details of the time line that has been leaked are:
- Completion of shipping 12,500 SDK units - Q3 - 2013
- Collect data and reports on SDK - Q4 - 2013
- Update SDK and start revision path - Q1 - 2014
- Prototype design and fabrication - Q2 - 2014
- Trials of Production Prototype - Q4 - 2014
- Presentation of Production Prototype - Q1 - 2015
- Chinese fabrication path - Q2 - 2015
- FCC Testing and Certification - Q4 - 2015
- Release Software and Firmware Licensing - Q4 - 2015
- Marketing and Retailer agreements - Q4 - 2015
- Sales Release... Early 2016 (best case)

Perfect timing to be bundled with a new Independent STEAM based PC platform?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 6th May 2013 11:29am

Posted:A year ago

#16

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

259 165 0.6
Oculus Rift + Durex Fundawear, the future looks promising...

Posted:A year ago

#17

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,130 1,038 0.5
The unseen problem with all this is new tech is the same as the old: germs and wreckage.

Who's going to maintain a Rift-based arcade setup on a regualr basis and properly? If they DO make it into public usage it's only a matter of time before parts need to be replaced from wear and tear and yes, like the good old arcade days, there are going to be sanitation issues and damage that WILL occur from drunken players, careless smokers, kids or others not used to the motion who may barf all over the machine and so forth and so on.

I saw some of this during the first VR craze back in the 90's and it wasn't pretty. Imagine how it's going to be in this new age where everyone whips out a tube or bottle of hand sanitizer and gets crazy with the baby wipes or conversely, runs up to the nearest machine with greasy hands and sends some poor operator or owner into a fit. Whee.

Anyway, here's looking forward to the long lines and THIS MACHINE IS OUT OF SERVICE signs when a unit needs a special cleaning up after someone decides to lose their lunch on a few units.

Posted:A year ago

#18
@Greg, good point - but not an un-surmountable one.

We have been here before! There was over 10,000 VR arcade machines fielded into the market during the mid-90's and those machines were much more fragile than the ones we will be deploying this time round.

I understand if you do not deal in the operation side of the amusement business you can get fixated on "Out of Order" signs. The baby wipes and good training worked well in the 90's and the majority of sites - hey Disney still runs two major VR attractions to this day and they have a great operational record (better than some traditional amusement). And SEGA ran their VR-1 attraction seeing incredible numbers and that also had a great operational record.

Sadly - there is a urge to pretend that much of what is being proposed is way different that what has gone before - I think some of you may be surprised how close this is what we did before in the sector - the improvement of graphics, and cost are the game changers now - not that we are doing something totally different!

Sad this topic got pushed off the front after only three days positing! Think GI.biz may want to move on!

Posted:A year ago

#19

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,130 1,038 0.5
Sadly - there is a urge to pretend that much of what is being proposed is way different that what has gone before - I think some of you may be surprised how close this is what we did before in the sector - the improvement of graphics, and cost are the game changers now - not that we are doing something totally different!
That's the key point, KW - I keep seeing and hearing some on other sites and in conversations acting as if this is all NEW when it's just a re-cycling with much better visuals (and the same current resolution, maybe?).

And yes, Disney is indeed the standard while those traditional amusement operators who set their own will see the most problems with the equipment. Also the same as the old days...

Well, we shall see where this goes - the deja vu here is making my trend Geiger counter go haywire...

Posted:A year ago

#20
I am saddened by the lack of interest to chart what happened before. I have actually compiled a book that will be published this year that actually looks back at the previous VR-E approach and look towards lessons learned. I wonder why the reticence to look back at the previous implantation is the poor reporting style of most media in this sector (Wiki has such a small entry on the previous VR craze)?

VR will be big again - and this time it will have the full glare of the modd'ers as well as the publishers and developers so something will result - though it may not be in the control of the traditional business!?

Posted:A year ago

#21
Oculus Rift plus star citizen may be a game changer. ALso from my friends doing development with OR, they are saying the "15 minute" motion sickness stuff is a thing of the past. Or is much less taxing on the eyes and will allow people to play for long lengths of time.

Oculus Rift may be the VR game changer we have been waiting for. And to be able to get it for $1000 pc and $400 googles is cheap relatively speaking. I mean 400 bucks for cutting edge tech is a steal.

Posted:A year ago

#22
@Todd, you will forgive me if I keep my powder dry regarding your comment that the "15-minute sim-sickness stuff is a thing of the past"!!! - I remember only a matter of weeks ago that I was told that "there was no problem" only for the individual's boss to chastise the individual for down-playing a serious situation where testers had to sit-down for a couple of minutes to get over their nausea.

There is a unprofessional issue to try and gloss over the situation - I am not saying it serious, but it is real and needs to be factored into development. Its just a simple bit of disorientation at the moment - but still worth considering. I know that this could hurt the hopes of spending hours in the RIFT at a time, but this is no reason to try and paper-over the situation. Todd the longest anyone (normal) can stand in the systems in 30-minutes - period!

Look - even the military has to limit the amount of time VR training suites are used - its just common sense, and not a failing of any of the hardware. It feel this is a good thing as the number of DVT and exhaustion cases we have seen in the PC gaming sector of late warrants some kind of 'rest time' requirement forced on players. As seen with Exer-Gaming in the home - there are some kinds of play-based stimulus that work best when monitored by an operator or instructor.
to be able to get it for $1000 pc and $400 googles is cheap relatively speaking
Who's relatives are you speaking too! A $1,400 (VR only) system - without the treadmill, interface peripherals and software purchase - is a hefty chunk of change for the majority of the A1 and A2 target consumer game audience. Todd the reason the system was promised at a $300 price point as this is in the "golden zone" of peripheral pricing. To now turn round and say "hey you need a new PC and by the way clear that space in the corner of the room we need it for the treadmill/enclosure" is not going to fly, no matter how much you gloss over the issue. Selling the RIFT as a high-spec game rig is achievable, but limits exposure and would cramp the business model originally promised through the Kickstarter.

I believe that RIFT or its successor will be BIG in the home - but I hope it can be BIGGER in the DOE venues! And at this time I am not sold on the ability of making the RIFT consumer friendly any time soon (next three years). That window is now open to the DOE sector and I am a little perturbed that some in the console sector are trying to avoid the inevitable on this matter. Can't see why they would not want to work in our sector - so why ignore it?

Posted:A year ago

#23
Most cutting edge pc games have required top end pc gaming rigs, this is nothing new, and they were just games. This is a whole new tech and experience.
Who's relatives are you speaking too! A $1,400 (VR only) system
not quite. Its also a top end pc, last I checked a top end pc is quite valuable and flexible to do much more that just vr.

The reason I see this being more successful at home than at some parks is because of hygiene problems and the need to dial the goggles in to your personal needs. Rift i going to supply some basic farsighted lenses, and they are working on making the goggles more glasses friendly. Getting the set up just right for each user will take time, in some cases a lot of time. Hardly what you have at some amusement park.

As far as eye strain? from the oculus rift team itself
The Oculus Rift causes very little eye strain, particularly compared to other standard displays or headmounts.

Normally, when you take a break from using a monitor or TV, the idea is to give your eyes a chance to focus and converge on a distant plane. This is a natural position of rest for your eyes.

With the Oculus Rift, your eyes are actually focused and converged in the distance at all times. Itís a pretty neat optical feature.
well anyway, the future is getting brighter for VR both in the public and private arena. Its going to be an exciting few years coming up, Thanks for the informative and fun discussion Kevin.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 8th May 2013 1:10am

Posted:A year ago

#24
@Todd - Thank you.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

259 165 0.6
I am surprised that my comment generated no reaction there... Now I feel like I am the only one seeing the potential of what durex is financing. Beside the "sexperiment" I do believe that such a technology (coupled with others, like accelerometers, movement detection etc.) can be huge for DOE venues. The fondawear, or the technology behind that bring a world of opportunities for the gaming industry. Imagine a suit fitted like that, imagine that same suit fitted with accelerometers (similarily to a wii-remote) and imagine games in third or first person view like shooters, fencing, boxing simulations to give a few examples that would interact with the suit. When you get hit, the suit reacts (of course it is not about inflicting pain, or at least it would have to be reasonable - or maybe even customizable by the user depending on his own tolerance).

I remember a real-tv experiment that was broadcasted in the Netherlands where 2 guys actually went through a more or less accurate simulation of the women labor while giving birth and for them to have an idea of the related pain women have to go through, all that with those electrodes and apparently this was a bit like a torture session. Of course that is not the idea here, although I would not be surprised that could also become a market, maybe a niche one, but still a market for such evolution.

Anyway, such suits fitted with the technologies I've mentioned and associated with VR could become the controllers (or the body inside should I say), and then this could slowly start to replace lasertags and paintball (at least popularize the latter, making it more accessible, especially regarding the pain factor and associated risks) for example (definitely a DOE market, especially if you associate VR with it, as you could really simulate a starship boarding assault against some aliens (or whatever) and all you need is the suit, the HMD and space for people to run around in it). Also arcade games to some extent could be reworked or refreshed, providing much more sensation than a vibrating seat could do on arcade racing games...

But maybe I am the only one who believe these fondawear are the foreplays to something that may become much bigger (no not talking about what's in the underwear) in the gaming world, both at home and in DOE.

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 8th May 2013 3:49pm

Posted:A year ago

#26
The VR experiment with sexuality was called "Tellydildonics" - this went all the way from electronic actuation too the 'sex-machine'!

I feel that the future of home VR could be "adult entertainment" - as we have seen 3D in home has succeeded more with porn than home motion pictures!

Sorry not to go more into detail, but this is a adult topic, and I do not want to touch on GI.biz comment bi-laws.

Posted:A year ago

#27

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

259 165 0.6
Sorry Kevin, I wasn't referring about the sexual application of the technology. I think I've been quite clear on this. I believe there is a possible application of the electrodes (or whatever the technology is called) in a more "conventional use" than what for it has been used so far (alleged body building, and now this erotic thingy).

I have no doubt this "technology" will find its market in adult entertainment and I don't really care for now (since I am not currently working in that sector/industry). What I care about is its possible application to "digital" gaming, or traditional "digitalized" gaming (should it be at home, or out-of-home) as it involve an extra perception or sense that we hardly been able to simulate so far at extended levels, like touch.

Now, I have no idea what those electrodes actually provides as a touch feeling, while I understand they work with muscular contraction or something like that by "injecting" some electrical signals. I don't how what exactly can be simulated and what kind of feeling that is. Additionally I have not idea of the strength of the signals and if such a suit, if it was to be made one day, could actually be worn over a set of "civilian" clothes and be efficient (which would be quite a practical requirement for this to work in DOE venues). While I see the potential of such an evolution in theory, I also see the numerous issues that will arise in practice (which I am far from exposing here, since first of all I am no engineer and secondly this would probably require a report the size of a novel). I do not know either if that particular technology is the right path, of if other type, or combination of multiple technologies could be, again, I just see the potential of inserting the possibility of interacting with more than 2 senses (view, hearing) and adding touch in the equation (besides what has already been attempted like vibrating controllers in home entertainement and vibrating seats in DOE venues).

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 9th May 2013 1:29pm

Posted:A year ago

#28

Keldon Alleyne
Handheld Developer

427 403 0.9
@Eric, that durex toy is nothing more than a vibrator for males and females.

The quality of home gaming against the expense of arcade gaming made it obsolete; especially with the increased accessibility of arcade style controllers.

There are plenty of applications successfully being executed such as golf and formula 1 simulators where players can sit in a real f1 vehicle cockpits and swing a real golf club. Ironically the formula 1 simulators, which are also used by formula one racers at circuits like Monaco that don't have round the year availability for testing, are just running Codemaster's F1 on the PS3!

Perhaps they could make use of a G-force rotational machine to provide more realistic force feedback, something that F1 racers with motion sickness would welcome and would just be awesome.

Who knows, maybe there could be another arcade revival if some new experiences can be found but I won't hold my breath.

Posted:A year ago

#29

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

259 165 0.6
Perhaps they could make use of a G-force rotational machine to provide more realistic force feedback, something that F1 racers with motion sickness would welcome and would just be awesome.
So basically we agree on the fact the arcade part of Out-of-Home Entertainment (which is, as Kevin Williams mentioned it in post #7, is very vast and includes many things), if there was too be a revival it would have to go through some "simulation features" and especially affect the user's body in some ways (providing a sensation close to the real feeling although without the health risk as a for example a "black veil" could be for a pilot taking too many G's, by not only affecting gently the body directly and the sense of touch but coupled with a screen (or in that case the HMD) going black on the arcade flight game or F1 game).

Basically it's about combining what modern funfair attractions and various machines do provide as sensations to their customers on a smaller scale (at least on the individual level) by coupling it with digital technologies like VR HMD and somehow bring both back together.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 10th May 2013 11:17am

Posted:A year ago

#30

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